Sunday, April 19, 2009

Revolutionary Road - First Impressions

In my last post, I was 6 pages into Revolutionary Road and already in awe of its density. By page 13, I'd already formed the (hypo)thesis on which I've decided to center the rest of my notes.

Many of the book's characters seem to be reluctantly enduring the death of their idealism as they're bombarded with the realities of their lives - and it's a theme I'll be on the look out for as I continue reading. There also seems to be a learned culture of silently borne misery, a group mentality of complacency. I'm only on page 15 though, so I'll see if my (hypo)thesis holds up.

But my early (perhaps premature) assessment doesn't stem from any lazy transparency in Yates' writing - if anything, it's a credit to his ability to thread a tangible motif through every single word in his narrative. Nothing appears to be included or mentioned incidentally - no object described that doesn't parallel or illuminate the experiences and sensations of a group of characters, no actions detailed that don't flesh out the character to whom they're ascribed, no setting chosen that doesn't add layers of context to the reader's understanding (of course, I'll give textual examples and details in my full review/analysis - these are just first impressions).

When an author begins his novel with "The final, dying sounds..." it's no accident. Setting an ominous tone, one of impending doom, in the opening words of a story immediately prepares the reader for whats to come. And from what I've read so far, Yates won't be letting up any time soon.

This is purposeful writing at its best; I would be proud to have my (eventual) fiction writing resemble Yates' in any small way.

Can't wait to finish Revolutionary Road and post my full analysis! I've also got to get around to seeing the movie once I'm done with the book...